The 60 defendants cover all levels of the operation, including business owners, call center managers, telemarketers and brokers, who have sold customer information to fraudulent companies for $ 10 or 15. $ per name, according to billing documents.
The companies operated in Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, California, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Arkansas.
Prosecutors allege the defendants used fraudulent scripts to target vulnerable clients. The “renewal” scenario, for example, involved telemarketers falsely claiming that they were calling for the renewal of active victims’ magazine subscriptions at a reduced rate. Instead, telemarketers made recurring payments to businesses, which had no existing relationship with the victims.
Some also used the “cancellation” script, which was used to trick those who had fallen for the scheme before paying the companies large lump sum payments to settle “outstanding balances”, which prosecutors said in the “invented” release.
At the press conference, Ms MacDonald described a call in which a person posing as a lawyer left a message for an older woman, saying if she didn’t settle his account he would take legal action. “In the meantime,” he added, “this contract will be renewed for another three years, so you will be receiving magazines probably until the day you die. Hope this is what you want.
Mr. Paul, the FBI investigator, said a woman had been swindled of $ 60,000, with more than 40% of withdrawals from her account going to “bogus magazine subscriptions”.
According to the impeachment documents, the companies worked together, sharing information about customers, so that some victims were billed by 10 or more companies at a time, resulting in subscription fees of more than $ 1,000. per month.